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TORA News - Le Mans 24 Hours Preview & Test Day

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TORA News - Le Mans 24 Hours Preview & Test Day






This time twelve months ago, TORA had completed its fourth annual running of their most prestigious endurance race of them all, the TORA 24 Heures Du Mans.
The field last year was absolutely ginormous with a total of 50 cars taking to the grid and somehow, all of them scrambled to the finish line after 24 hours of arduous, tense, physically challenging but extremely exciting racing.
Last years event was eventually won by the F4H Red Sonia team, which was F4H’s second overall victory in succession. Could they make it three years on the trot? In case you missed last years race, here’s the Youtube playlist of the 2013 TORA Le Mans 24 Hours:



Now, twelve months on, the dedicated staff are already planning to host the 2014 edition which will be the second round of this years TORA Endurance Championship.
But before the main event begins on the 28th & 29th June, we had the official test day which was hosted on Sunday 1st June from the Circuit De La Sarthe. Conditions were perfect all through the test with temperatures at a constant 76°F (roughly 24.5°C) so the drivers could rely on their tyres sticking to the asphalt with their low downforce configurations on their highly tuned machines.

Just to give you a fantastic guide of the Le Mans circuit, we have three onboard laps from completed different eras. This first one is of an onboard lap from 1956 with Mike Hawthorn driving you around in his Jaguar D Type. How gigantic is that camera mounted on the rear of the Jag?!



Fast forward another 27 years to 1983 and we find Derek Bell in one of the Group C monsters, the Porsche 956. Notice here on the Mulsanne Straight, there are no chicanes so the cars would be full throttle for over a minute. This gave the drivers a chance of reaching speeds in excess of 230+mph.



Finally, it only seems fitting as we fast forward to the present day that we should provide you with an onboard lap of Le Mans in the present day with the late Allan Simonsen (who was sadly killed in the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours) in the Ferrari 458 GTE.



Just before the official test began, we sat down with some of the drivers in the hospitality area and asked them a few questions about this event and what they hoped to achieve in the 24 hour race.

Q1: In your honest opinion, why do you feel that Le Mans is such a special event compared to other major endurance races?

It’s Le Mans. Must I say more? Just the atmosphere around the TORA Paddock is awesome with everyone wanting to better each other the competition becomes amazingly tense.
ShrinkingSteven, Maranello Motorsport
I think the fact that it's so special is because of the dedication that the TORA Hosts and drivers put in to make it fun.
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing
Le Mans is one of the greatest races in the world, along with the Sebring 12 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hours, and Nurburgring 24 Hours. Le Mans, however, stands out from the pack. It's 24 hours of pedal to the metal action, where a driver is full throttle 85% of a lap. Once a driver steps into the drivers seat of their car, they morph into the car, become one. They are no longer physically driving the car; it just becomes a semi-conscious ability beyond that or mere mortals. And doing that, covering an entire F1 season in just two laps of the clock, is what makes Le Mans special.
ErebusV8, Maranello Motorsport

I feel that the TORA 24 Hours Le Mans is as special as the real life counter-part. Everyone puts 100% in all the time, don't get me wrong everyone puts 100% in all the time, but I is a 'Never say Die' attitude. What I mean is that if you pick up damage in a 'sprint' race you normally drop to the back and pick up points, But at Le Mans you pit, get all the damage sorted and you go back out and push as hard as you and the car can physically cope, and from experience you push the car over the edge.
JamesHall94, Benedict Racing Team

It is one of a kind track with road and race track surfaces, the high speed loaded corners come together to make a one of a kind circuit, add that its 24 hours and the multi class traffic and you have one of the most challenging endeavours anyone can undertake.
Dragonsyoung, CRA Rockstar Racing

Le Mans is unique. The concentration needed to just finish is like no other race. The circuit is difficult to settle into and find a rhythm. The first sections being open fast with a few stop starts along the way. After 3 minutes of complete on the throttle driving to entering the final sector where patience is key at 170mph+ is tough to pull off time and again.
HCR Bellmond, HCR Yamagura

Q2: A lot of drivers in the past have said that taking part in this event is just as emotional as entering the real Le Mans race. What do you feel is the key ingredient which makes this such a spectacle amongst the TORA community?

Yes. If you have ever been in the lobby of this race at around 2am and you are only half way though then you start to think why am I doing this? But when you enter the final stint or watch your team mate cross the line to finish and you realised how much time and effort you have put into this making it work and the amount of team work needed to doing something like this is huge.
ShrinkingSteven, Maranello Motorsport

Yeah it's alright I guess, gets pretty intense in the last stint when fighting for positions.
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing

Very few people get to take part in the real Le Mans race; it's for the elite of the elite racer out there, McNish, Simonson, Webber, Kristensen. So to be able to take part in a virtual counterpart of the real life Le Mans, is something even the virtual racer wants to tick on their list of "Want to Race". The wind up to the TORA Le Mans is just as good as the real event. The test sessions leading up to it, the media output by the Media Team and individual teams, then the Qualifying the week leading up to the race is always tight, then the 24 hour race on the Saturday/Sunday with live streaming and commentary is just something that stands out over the entire Forza, and if not entire online gaming league.
ErebusV8, Maranello Motorsport
This event is the diamond in crown of TORA Championships in my opinion. It's over 100 drivers, 54 teams going head to head for 24 hours, through the highs & lows. Everyone wants to win this race, yeah you get nothing for it, but it isn’t about that, it’s about knowing that you can give it your best for 24 hours straight. It's not about who can be the fastest over a stint or the 1st 6 hours of the race, it’s about having the consistency, being sensible and not getting involved with traffic or silly on track battle's, the tactics of the driver rotations, it’s about having the whole team on the best and trying the best you can. Really it’s about Survival for 23 hours and racing (if you make it) for the last 1 hour.
JamesHall94, Benedict Racing Team
We race it once a year. Good looking cars a plenty. And good people with allot of talent for close racing.
Dragonsyoung, CRA Rockstar Racing

It's the pure challenge its self. Every driver understands the huge task we all face. The effort that goes into this race from each team is no less than reality. Some teams have made several appearances at Le Mans in the same car meaning there is literally years of work in the setup, driving style etc. Its the effort that makes competing and completing the race very emotional
HCR Bellmond, HCR Yamagura

Q3: What is your favourite section of the Le Mans circuit & why?

That’s a tough one. Probably the section from mulsanne corner to Indianapolis because getting the braking point for Mulsanne corner right and turning back onto the next 180mph straight with the narrower public roads and close barriers it feels like you’re going faster than on the Mulsanne straight.
ShrinkingSteven, Maranello Motorsport

My favourite part would most likely be tetre rouge because last year Carbonviper flipped his Gallardo off the Twinkies and that was a bit interesting.
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing

That would have to be the run from Muslsanne to Arnage. Coming from 50+ mph at Mulsanne and accelerating down Pierre Baude towards Indianapolis becomes both a metaphorical and literal tunnel. It is the tightest part of the track, and with the trees it feels entirely closed in, nothing else matters but you and your car. Then when the light pierces the trees at Indianapolis of the quick right hander you get snapped back into reality, it's a very special section of track for me.
ErebusV8, Maranello Motorsport

I don’t really have a favourite section I like the whole track, so it’s difficult to say what my favourite bit of the track is, but I would have to say it’s the section from the start of Porsche Curves through the start finish line to the start of mulsanne straight, I have fond memories of that section.
JamesHall94, Benedict Racing Team

Porsche curves, getting this section right from entry to exit flat out is one of the most rewarding of any track anywhere.
Dragonsyoung, CRA Rockstar Racing

My personal favourite section is the entry of Indianapolis. Getting the turn in right holding the power on until the heavy braking into the left hander is great fun when you get it right.
HCR Bellmond, HCR Yamagura

Q4: (If you have participated in the TORA LM24 in the past) What has been your favourite moment from previous TORA LM24 events you’ve entered and why?

This will be my third time competing in this event so I've had a lot of memories prior to this, but its got to be last year when BlueJabber, LMR Panamera and Myself were bump drafting and fighting for the leading in the lobby for GTE it lasted pretty much the whole stint. With none of us getting any damage.
ShrinkingSteven, Maranello Motorsport

My favourite moment would probably be MATT PASTRAMNI pulling out of the 2012 & 2013 Le Mans because that was a mad relief.
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing

Last years Le Mans was probably the stand out, mainly because my first Le Mans was riddled with lag spikes because of my internet but last year was just great. I got a new personal best at the track with the Porsche, missing out on C lobby by 2 thousandths of a second. Being in D lobby though was great because I had a lot of in race battles and performed some of my best racing in the 6 hours or so that I did.
ErebusV8, Maranello Motorsport

This year it is my 3rd TORA Le Mans 24 Hours, but my favourite moment would be from my 1st TORA race (2012 24hrs Le Mans) when the team I was with (Team Torshavin) finished 4th Overall after a lengthy battle in the 2nd half of the race with ATR DAN and the ATR Dynamics Team
JamesHall94, Benedict Racing Team

Last year was my first endurance and as such I had no idea what to expect. but I gained so much experience from driving in the wee hours surrounded/lapped buy some of the best people and drivers they showed me what Endurance is all about.
Dragonsyoung, CRA Rockstar Racing

My favourite moment of TORA Le Mans has to be the parade lap before the start of the race last year. I joined TORA shortly after the 2012 Le Mans race so the wait had been very long. We had got permission from Toyota Motorsport to run an LMP in the Toyota livery, lots of work had gone into the car and we felt a good finish was on the cards after a great Sebring. The excitement was amazing.
HCR Bellmond, HCR Yamagura

Q5: What are your personal expectations on this years TORA LM24 event?


Well it’s my first time Racing for Maranello Motorsports Ax4x in there Ferrari 458 GTE and were all looking pretty strong this year. I honestly just want us to finish without any major issues. Then see where we are at the 18/20 hours stage
ShrinkingSteven, Maranello Motorsport

Go ham and don't kill myself
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing

Honestly, I have no clue what to expect, it's a long race, and anything can happen. I've had a lot of up and down test sessions, as anyone who's been in a party with me testing would know, many curse words have been used in the place of adjectives. But, at the same time, I am looking forward to the race to see how I perform with the chances of me being in the same lobby as HCR Mad Dog and LMR Deftone and the like, but I think, and this is a big call, as a team there is a chance we could put an Allied Forces Ferrari on the podium at the end of the 12 hours, but like I said, it's a long race and a lot can happen
ErebusV8, Maranello Motorsport

My personal expectations are to raise a lot of money for Great Ormand Street Hospital, who the Benedict Racing & LMP Motorsport teams are driving in aid of for this event. If anyone would like to donate, any amount weather it's big or small it all helps, please go to www.justgiving.com/BRLeMans24 , Thank you.
JamesHall94, Benedict Racing Team

I hope Team CRA Rockstar get on the podium. we missed at sebring finishing 4th.
Dragonsyoung, CRA Rockstar Racing

This year we feel a Podium is where we really need to finish for it to be a successful event to try defend our championship after an average Sebring
HCR Bellmond, HCR Yamagura

We personally would like to thank Erebus, Steve, Bellmond, James, Dragon and Mopar for taking their time to talk to us.

Of the 15 teams that have registered thus far for this years race, a total of 15 drivers from 8 teams took part in this test. And all of them turned up to the circuit nice and early to prepare for a busy day ahead of them.
Just walking through the pit lane 20 minutes before the first session begun, the garages were a sea of mechanics tinkering with the cars with their spanners, laptops, fuel rigs and wheel guns. The aroma of petrol & oil coming from the garages is something that only a true petrol head would quote as being “heaven”. The most activity was coming from CRA Urban’s car as the teams mechanics were in panic mode, trying to repair two things at the same time. An oil leak followed by a slight electrical glitch in the Lola Honda almost put an end to Urban’s day before it even begun.

When the session finally began at 10:00am local time, all of the competitors rolled out onto the circuit at the same time. And what a mixture of cars we had. From the screaming, belching V12 engine from the Lola Aston Martin of MATT PASTRAMNI, to the deep, rumbling bellow of the Corvettes and Ford GT’s. Those cars certainly made your chest vibrate every time they roared past the start/finish line.
The session was full of incident, mainly due to one or two competitors having difficulties. But at the end of the day, it was The Bulin Wall5 who was fastest in the LMP category with a time of 3:22.120. However, his time wasn’t official because he’s registered for the GTE class with LMR Red Dragon, Instead, he decided to bring along two LMP machines, the Peugeot 908 and the Acura ARX-01b.
Instead, honours for the best time went to JamesHall94 in the Benedict Racing Aston Martin AMR-One with a best time of 3:24.449. A stellar effort considering that the AMR-One isn't the best car on the grid.



Second, just under eight tenths of a second behind was the CRA Rockstar Racing Lola Mazda of Dragonsyoung with a time of 3:25.229. He was unable to improve his time late in the day due to an incident with two other LMP cars of The Bulin Wall5 and MATT PASTRAMNI. Coming down the fast section to Indianapolis, Bulin and Matt collided at high speed which caused a massive crash for MATT, with his car rolling and flipping in mid air. Dragon was the next car on the scene and was unable to avoid the spinning MATT. This more or less placed all three cars out for the remainder of the test session. Thankfully, MATT was able to walk away without too much injury.





In the GTE class, there wasn't a huge variety although you had a huge quantity of Corvette's, 4 in total. However, it was one of the two Ford GT's which ended us setting the quickest time. LMR Deftone MX in the LMR Red Dragon car was quickest by over two second with a blistering time of 3:56.494. A surprise second quickest in GTE was the Maranello Motorsport Ferrar 458 of ShrinkingSteven with a time of 3:58.766. No doubt in this young mans mind, his has justified his reasonings for joining the team.
Third fastest in GTE was the first of the Corvette's driven by IBlueIJaBBRexI in the Mushroom Kingdom Racers machine.





Here's a couple of more pictures from the offical test including the Folstak Racing Corvette of LMR Mopar in their test livery







As soon as the sun started to set, the teams packed all of their vehicles into the massive trucks and the drivers all set off to their hotel rooms for a well earned rest. But they can reflect on what has been a pretty good and useful test session for all involved. Here is the final standings with the best times from the session.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GKX74tmZrFn6SaG-AxI0krsSRook_6eXMcx3bqD6OUM/edit?usp=sharing

All we look forward to now is for the qualifying sessions to begin just one week before the main event. If you haven't already, please be sure to register for this epic endurance if you want to take part via the link below:

http://forums.theonlineracingassociation.com/t13302-2014-msa-tora-24-hours-of-lemans-sign-ups-entry-thread

For now, Happy Racing everyone.0

Author: Daniel Austins (ATR DAN)


Last edited by ATR DAN on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 7:16; edited 2 times in total
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TORA News - Le Mans 24 Hours Preview & Test Day :: Comments

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 0:02 by ErebusV8

Looking great mate!!!
Bring on the race

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 0:14 by LMR Sahara

"My favourite moment would probably be MATT PASTRAMNI pulling out of the 2012 & 2013 Le Mans because that was a mad relief."
LMR Mopar, Folstak Racing


f*cks sake Mopar haha

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 0:19 by ShrinkingSteven

Great read dude really awesome how you have made it almost feel real.  Very Happy 

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 1:07 by LMR Deftone MX

Awesome write up Dan! Proper motorports journalism! Although idk where the 57.3 came from. My best time was a 3:56.494!

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 6:57 by ATR DAN

LMR Deftone MX wrote:Awesome write up Dan! Proper motorports journalism! Although idk where the 57.3 came from. My best time was a 3:56.494!

Cheers mate and sorry about the error. I had no data to go on so I had to rely on the replays. And of course, they cut out at a certain point. I'll alter it now  Smile
I'll also added Bellmond to the interviews seeing as he's replied to me quite late.

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 7:15 by LMR Deftone MX

Yeah sorry I didn't get the chance to respond. Been super busy with my last week of school.

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 7:28 by CRA XenoMorph

Great write up Dan  Cool 

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 8:38 by HCR Bellmond

Great write up mate Smile

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 8:56 by CreamyTastey

Dan that is a brilliant write up! Really enjoyable read and better than some of the real life articles I have seen this week Smile Smile Smile

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 9:06 by ErebusV8

^^ that's because real life racing has too many politics and finish drivers that just say 'yes' haha

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 11:12 by JAMIE ANDERS0N

Great write up Dan

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 13:17 by CreamyTastey

Yes Brad I agree with you there mate

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 15:09 by F4H Lotterer

Nice work again Dan  Cool

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 20:49 by ATR DAN

Cheers guys. It was a pain in the butt to write but it sure was worth it in the end.  Very Happy Very Happy 

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Post on Tue 3 Jun 2014 - 21:00 by Turbo Power 77

Nice write up Dan! Really annoyed I can't do the race.

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Post on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 12:14 by THO Shooter

Fantastic write up, looking forward to this years race.

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Post on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 15:04 by Morne in Glory

Cracking read once again mate well done

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Post on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 16:05 by hunty1981

loving the report dan

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Post on Wed 4 Jun 2014 - 17:35 by LMP Dragon

Nice report, still cannot believe I rolled it on Tetre Rouge in LM 2013... That is something to remember.

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